New coaches for Woodstock High cheer, dance
One of the many tasks for an athletic director is maintaining the coaching staffs of the athletic programs at their schools, and Woodstock High School’s Glen Wilson was busy doing just that this summer.
WHS had head coach vacancies for the dance and cheerleading teams. Wilson hired Kim McLaughlin as the new dance coach and Heather Spenard as the cheerleading coach.
McLaughlin teaches fifth grade at Olson Elementary and owns Woodstock Ballet Studio. This coming year will be her sixth year at Olson and 13th year in Woodstock District 200. She started her ballet studio around the same time she started working for D-200.
McLaughlin, whose daughter Samantha is a senior at WHS and a member of the dance team, said the position is a natural fit for her.
“My daughter has been a pom since seventh grade through high school,” McLaughlin said. “When they lost their coach she said, ‘Hey, mom, why don’t you apply?’ I had thought about it before, and it seemed like a natural fit, and this time I did it.”
Wilson said McLaughlin’s dance experience cannot be overlooked.
“Coach McLaughlin has an extensive background in dance and has ‘the glass is half full’ approach to improving her program,” he said in an email.
McLaughlin said she believes the program should have a consistent approach to how they prepare.
“I want us to be a clean, cohesive team,” McLaughlin said. “I believe we will be one big happy family. I don’t want us to spend a lot of time practicing for special events. I believe in set practices, and if we work really hard, we will be successful. I don’t think running the girls ragged for six hours and repeating the same thing beneficial for their spirit or choreography.”
Tryouts have been completed, and the dance teams, varsity and junior varsity, will have about 24 members. McLaughlin, who believes in the community and wants it to get to know her team, already has had the poms sing the school song at the ice cream social at Stage Left Café and at Woodstock Water Works.
“I would like us to be more connected with the community,” McLaughlin said. “I want the community to see what cool kids the girls are, and I want us to do some things for the community as well.”
New cheerleading coach Spenard works at the McHenry County Recorder’s office. She also teaches classes for the Woodstock Recreation Department. One of her acquaintances felt Spenard would be a good fit for the position and gave her name to the WHS athletic department.
Spenard, who moved from Atlanta four years ago, has never coached but has been involved in cheerleading from kindergarten through high school and helped friends who were on cheerleading squads with their routines.
Spenard said her energy and cheer experience make her a good fit.
“It’s going to be a tough job, because I oversee the whole program, but I think I’m a good fit for it,” Spenard said. “You have to have a high energy personality and that fits me pretty well.”
Wilson said Spenard’s energy will be a big positive for the program.
“Coach Spenard has a contagious spark in how she leads and organizes and will continue the positive momentum of the cheer program,” he said in an email.
Tryouts for the season are complete, and the program has about 40 members. Spenard said she is excited because she “has gotten to know the girls and put faces with names.”
Spenard said she wants the cheerleaders always reflect positively on the school and the community, but she also wants them to have fun.
“My philosophy is my cheerleaders represent not only the high school but also Woodstock in general,” Spenard said. “They must always represent in a positive way, and they need to be helpful to others, because people are always watching you.
“Most of all, I want them to have fun. This means so much to these girls, and they need to get out there and have fun and represent our school.”